When you're not a morning person

I’m not a morning person. I don’t think I ever have been. And I’m raising at least two children who do, in fact, appear to be morning people. Let me tell you, it’s torture. I just want to sleep until the sun decides it’s time to get up, too. Instead, every morning I hear the telltale pitter-patter (more like THUMP THUMP THUMPITY-THUMP) of Master Seven’s feet as he RUNS up and down the hallways and stairs of our home, doing God knows what. And then, a half-second after this cacophony begins, the baby starts ratting the bars of her cot and singing, “Mama! Mama! Mammmmmmmmmmma!” until I stumble bleary-eyed into her room to let her out.

On weekdays you’d think this was a good thing — that I don’t have to drag little people out of their beds — but in fact, it’s the opposite. They get up so early they have time to get really stuck into their playing and Elmo-watching and then they absolutely do not want to get dressed or get ready for the day. I’ve tried giving Master Seven a chart showing him what he needs to do BEFORE he can play — like, get dressed, have breakfast, brush his teeth — but no dice. He is gonna play and he is gonna play HARD, and when we’re just about to be late he will fight me every step of the way about getting dressed and ready to go to school.

The baby is a bit easier in this respect, although she’s a currently obsessed with Elmo, and this isn’t easy to navigate. I let her watch Elmo in the morning (mostly to keep her in one place while I whirlwind around the house trying to get everyone and everything sorted) and that’s it, she’s ruined for the whole day. She wants to watch Elmo all the time, the same three episodes, over and over. If I hear Feist singing about 1, 2, 3, 4 monsters walking ‘cross the floor ONE MORE TIME, I might lose my last 1, 2, 3, 4 shreds of sanity. I’m trying to pull a clean shirt over her head and she’s twisting around screaming, “Elmo! Can’t see! Elmo!” and frantically trying to get back to her furry, red bestie who lives in the TV.

I’ve heard that you can *train* yourself to be a morning person. Apparently it takes about two weeks to change your chronotype, which is a fancy way of saying whether you’re a morning or night person. It involves getting up at the same (early) time of 5am every day, exercising and eating a protein-heavy breakfast like eggs, and using natural light, among other “helpful” tips which were probably invented by someone who doesn’t have children and therefore has time to pay attention to things like exercise and cooking eggs every morning. If I try to exercise in front of my kids, they immediately want my attention for something incredibly important, like the whereabouts of the green sequin that fell off their craft project last month. If I even look sideways at the frypan, they start shrieking for pancakes.

My kids have no problem getting up at 5am, which is apparently the time that CEOs get out of bed. Apparently morning people are more successful than evening people because they are proactive. I guess there’s hope. And perhaps things will calm down when they’re in their teenage years, like Miss 13 — who hasn’t quite yet reached the stage of being impossible to roust from her bed, but who does like a lie-in on the weekend. Or maybe some CEO reading this could just give my two morning larks a job and then I could get some sleep. Email me and I’ll send you their CVs. Skills include Lego and singing along to Elmo songs.

Katherine Granich
Editor, Tots to Teens

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